Monday, November 29, 2010

Ready, Set....Sew!

I was able to spend quite a bit of time in the sewing room over the four day weekend (no shopping for me!) and managed to prep the first of nine blocks for the Antique Rose quilt.  I decided that I should prep all of the pieces rather than needleturn this one - I think because this pattern is so geomertic/symmetrical it is critical that everything be very uniform.  I used a combination of overlays and tracing on the background to get everything properly aligned and then basted the pieces in place.  I had a little bit of time to start sewing last night and was able to get a stem and leaf appliqued.  It will be interesting to see how quickly I can get all of the applique done - I'm not used to having everything ready to go like this!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trying to Focus

I spent a good portion of Saturday trying to reorganize my sewing room to accomodate at least some of the stuff that I have been dragging home from all of the quilt shows and shopping adventures this year.  I was somewhat successful, but only because I pulled the remaining rug hooking things from the closet and baskets and hauled it to the basement (a.k.a. wool dumping ground).  I threw away a couple of things, and made mental notes to get rid of a few others at the guild's yard sale, but overall just crammed more stuff into closets and drawers that are already bursting at the seams.  The whole process served to remind me just how many projects I have started or purchased fabric for - I am totally out of control.  The worst part is that I do not have a single quilt to show for all my efforts in the past year or so - lots of blocks and partially-completed projects, but nothing even close to a whole quilt.  With the quilt show coming up in June, I figured it is high time I focus on a single project in an effort to have at least one thing to enter.  I do have the Runaway quilt to finish, but I really want to have an appliqued quilt to enter since that is the thing I love to do the most.

So I spent some time looking at some of my applique projects to assess degree of completion.  Bottom line is that most will require considerable effort (like making 250 more little baskets, etc.) to complete.  My Hearts & Flowers project is close, but I am not sure how I want to finish that one.  What I really want to do is start the Rose of Sharon pattern from McCall's Jan/Feb 2010 issue.  I fell in love with it the moment I saw it, and I purchased the fabric for it at the end of last year.  Here's a picture of the project and the antique quilt that inspired it (from Barbara Brackman's blog, Dec 2009):


I realize that trying to finish something this big in six months is quite an undertaking, but the pieces are big and there are only nine blocks, so it should be feasible, right???  I'm a little concerned about the symmetry.  I will have to be very careful not to let anything shift the least little bit or it will be obvious.  I know I am completely out of my mind, but I can't wait to get started!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Taking a Deep Breath

I'm just beginning to recover from the craziness of the past couple of weeks.  I still haven't tackled the gigantic mess in my sewing room (although I have to admit that my recent purchases are only part of the problem - I still have bags from Chicago, Paducah and Colorado), and I am way behind on other things like making arrangements for rug camp, installing my replacement router, etc.  I can hardly believe that it is nearly the middle of November already.  My travels and the warm weather have me totally baffled!  I took this picture of fall foilage this morning.  Trees around here usually aren't quite this brilliant in color, and the almost never have any leaves left by November!

Immediately upon returning from Houston, I attended a rug class with Anne Marie Littenberg at Nola's studio.  It was one of the best workshops I have ever attended!  We had a fantastic group of really creative people, and Anne Marie was an incredible teacher!  I am very excited about my project and was so inspired by everything I learned! 

The rug that Anne Marie is holding in the above photo illustrates one of the techniques I would like to try.  (And yes, that is Sharon Townsend in the corner - I said it was an awesome class!)  Anne Marie uses smaller and smaller cuts to create perspective as she works away from the foreground. The designer of this rug is using an 8 cut in the foreground and is gradually working to a 4 cut in the distance.  You could already see how dimensional it will look!

Here's a picture of my pattern and the hooking I got done in class.  With Anne Marie's and my daughter's encouragement I opted to do a view of the side of the Ha Ha Tonka castle rather than the view from the front.  I learned all kinds of tips for creating light and shadow.  I can't wait to get a little farther along to see how my building looks!

Another thing that Anne Marie inspired me to do is start a journal.  I have tried to capture ideas in various places in the past, including this blog and a composition notebook in my sewing room, but I have never been very serious about it.  I haven't found the perfect journal yet - I am off to Barnes and Noble in search of something tomorrow.  I want to do a better job of documenting my projects as well as the hundreds of ideas I come across, and jotting notes from my three days with Anne Marie seems like the perfect way to start!